Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home   |   Volume 7, Issue 23, Tuesday, June 05, 2012




Seminar on Diabetes, ENT and cardiac diseases

Mount Elizabeth Hospital, a concern of Parkway Health, organised a seminar -- Diabetes, ENT and Cardiac Diseases -- on 27 May at Lakeshore Hotel.

Mount Elizabeth Hospital is one of the finest medical service facilities in Singapore, and numerous people from many countries, including Bangladesh, go to the hospital every year for superior treatment and service.

This seminar was organised by Mount Elizabeth Hospital to create awareness about chronic diseases.

The seminar was conducted mainly by three doctors flown in from Singapore.

Since the event was to raise awareness among general people, the workshop gave a rare glimpse of the mindset and approach of doctors towards patients and various diseases -- how they treat patients, their diagnosis and so on.

But of course, the main attraction was that people were given a definitive idea about diseases many of us are concerned about.

Dr Luke Tan for example, a senior ENT specialist, talked about early detection of cancer in the brain, neck and the thyroid. “You must visit the doctor if you have a lump in the neck for more than a month. On the other hand, blood tinged saliva is an early symptom of cancer,” he said.

Another talked-about disease these days is hypertension. Dr Lim Yeng Teng, senior consultant, cardiology, broke down the dynamics of hypertension. “There is often no definitive symptom of hypertension. It is therefore a silent killer. This disease is heavily associated with cardiovascular events. Have a close eye on your BP level to check if you have hypertension,” the speaker said.

On the other hand, Dr Kevin Tan, senior consultant of endocrinology, focused on diabetes.

For more information, or if you want to get in touch with this hospital, email Parkway Health Patient Assistance Centre at dhaka@parkwayhealth.net or call their 24 hour helpline number, 01736000000.

By M H Haider


How to make breakfast easy

Plan the food ahead of time
Prepare what you can the night before. If you plan to make omelettes, chop the vegetables. If you want a smoothie to jumpstart your day, slice fruit such as pineapple and mango so you can just toss all the ingredients into the blender come morning time.

Prepare the coffee beforehand
Coffee is synonymous with breakfast. Cut your morning caffeine fix preparation in half by filling the coffee pot with water and coffee grinds before you go to bed at night. If you have an automated coffee maker, simply set the timer. If not, all you have to do is switch it on in the morning.

While the bread is toasting and coffee is percolating, do what you can to prepare for getting out of the house. Pack your briefcase, get the kids' lunches ready or make your to-do list for the day ahead.


The modern stone age

My first encounter with a room full of chauvinists left a charred mark on me, and trust me it is going to take quite a while for me to reconcile with myself as to what actually happened.

Last week I had to run some important errands at a reputed local government bank and visited two of their branches in two different locations, one at Uttara and another at Tejgaon. Obviously government banks are anything but state of the art and bankers there are anything but men with very clear-cut ideologies; one being women are not worth their time.

Now I should not be that cruel; a few of the men there did take pity on my womanhood and one beckoned me with his hands to come to his glass room. He made me sit beside him and completed my tasks in a jiffy. While all the time I could see the other sweating male clients in a long queue behind the counter. I had nothing else to do but smile at their gender and how I was sitting inside the glass box where the 'staff only' sign hung.

I guess 'Frailty, thy name is woman' did have some meaning. These efficient men behind the counter found it 'not right' for a lone woman to stand in queues. Anyway, whether it is my gender or the fact that I was all alone, my job was done in minutes; so whatever and however their minds worked, I didn't question their efficiency.

I was sent to the next room for further signatures and ledger entries; you must know one thing -- in these banks all the work is done by hand. They are like a colony of ants each doing their chores and tasks and very competently too. Even the underhand dealings, if need arises, are all done smoothly.

Anyway here in this room, the snug bubble that I live in was busted. I found that being a woman in a room full of men means total devastation: of your ego, of your womanhood, and of your intelligence. Somehow these men can make you feel like the ant crushed under their feet.

The big boss, from whom I was asked to get the signatures, was in no mood to see a woman dressed in a sari, possbly attire he particularly disliked. He made a stink face as if I was a skunk and spoke to me in a manner which confused even me. I mean I was wondering whether I look mentally challenged to others or not.

While the other male clients were assigned to one officer to make the lot of pay orders, my lot was torn into four parts and I had to run to four different desks; and at each stop I was answering their queries as to if I am alone, is there someone with me or not, do I have brains, etcetera, ad infinitum.

And all the while the other men behind me in the queue were breathing dragon breaths down my back. Their close proximity in a small claustrophobic room made me realise that sitting in my office desk writing about equal rights and preaching equality holds no meaning. I, in my happy world with a stable job, an identity, a husband who respects me, am not a step closer to woman's emancipation.

Just one day, for a few minutes being in a room with chauvinist men needs mental strength and fighting your way out of that room with your sanity intact needs courage. I do salute the courage with which working women deal with chauvinism day in and day out. The only other woman in that room was one wearing a burquah sitting behind a desk beside the big boss.

-- Raffat Binte Rashid


Maldives, a slice of heaven

There are few places in the world on which the epithet heaven on earth sits as comfortably as it does on the Maldives. This group of islands on the Indian Ocean constitute the smallest country in Asia in terms of population and area, but its attractions loom much larger.

Maldives is one of the top tourist destinations in the world, with many Western tourists swearing by this collection of dots on the world map south-west of India as the place to go for relaxation and adventure. And the Maldivian government have taken full advantage of this situation, building the country up to be a tourist haven with high quality hotels and an environment that is the envy of the world.

Tourism is so important to this small country, which because of its similarity of climate across its breadth is not the most self-sufficient in terms of growing a variety of foods, that the Tourism Ministry is one of its most important arms of government.

Maldive's State Minister for Tourism, Arts and Culture Ahmed Shameem was in Dhaka in the second week of May to attend the 'Cultural Diversity Ministerial Forum of the Asia Pacific Region'. It is testament to Bangladesh's growing presence on the world stage that he thought that Bangladesh could be an important partner for Maldives as far as tourism and business goes.

“Presently there are around 70,000 Bangladesh nationals living in the Maldives,” said Shameem in an exclusive interview to Star Lifestyle after the Forum. “We want to change the view that Bangladeshis have of Maldives, as a place to go and work. Maldives as a tourist destination is not that well-known here in Bangladesh, we want to change that through some awareness programmes.”

As a tourist destination, Maldives is not cheap, far from it. But that is with good reason. “We have been very careful with the environment right from the very beginning. We have been lucky enough to preserve the environment as it was; we do not have any major pollution problems at the moment. So the sea all around, anywhere you go is crystal clear,” said Shameem of one of the many attractions that make Maldives such a popular destination.

On whether a poor country like Bangladesh can be a viable source of tourists, Shameem said, “We do not see Bangladesh as only a poor country. There are a lot of businessmen at the higher end of society who already travel to Europe, countries like Singapore and Malaysia. There is no reason why they cannot travel to the Maldives.”

There is good enough reason that Maldives is an expensive place for tourists. There are world class hotels, world-renowned brands and restaurants including the awe-inspiring underwater restaurant. Most of these hotels have quality spas and also offer diving and snorkeling facilities, availing which guests can delve into the clear waters and marine life of this naturally rich ocean paradise. These world-class services are often provided on uninhabited islands, which drives up the costs further as the hotels have to pay for all the utilities like water and electricity.

The commencement of trade between the two countries is as important as a tradition of Bangladeshi tourism in the Maldives. A recent Air Service Agreement was signed with the Civil Aviation Authority which will possibly see direct flights between Dhaka and Male' in the near future. “We want businessmen in Bangladesh to see Maldives as a place to invest in. A lot of countries from the subcontinent have businesses there, but not Bangladesh. Importing items like fish from Bangladesh will be good for us as we currently import these from Dubai, who in turn import them from somewhere else, thus greatly driving up the price.”

Needless to say, business with Maldives will be as beneficial to us as it will be to them, if not more so. Operating businesses in such a high-profile destination will increase Bangladesh's global presence. And going on vacation to such a blissful slice of blue has advantages that need not be spelt out. The price is worth it.



Disclaimer & Pain in the back

By Karim Waheed

Responses to my last column [on back exercises] have been overwhelming. Let me take this opportunity to thank readers who have been following my column. This month “Skip the Gym” turns one. In the past year, I've received [via Star Lifestyle] many emails -- some appreciating the column and my uncomplicated way of explaining exercises; some had suggestions and some had queries. I've also had people approaching me at cafes, restaurants and in elevators, asking me about this column. And of course, quite a few people have flat out disagreed with what it promotes -- a gym owner being one of them.

Let's get a few things straight. I am not a trainer/ a fitness or nutrition expert/ a physical therapist/ a physician; I never made such audacious and delusional claims.

I'm a fitness enthusiast and I thoroughly enjoy studying the ever-changing fields of fitness and nutrition. I started this column to provide alternatives to working individuals, like me, who cannot make time to go to the gym, or students who can't afford gym memberships. This is an attempt to let people know that you can be fit without stepping into a gym, and generate interest in fitness.

This column is not a sermon, but more like a platform where I share workouts that have worked for millions across the world including me, as well as logical deductions concerning eating habits. Working out and trying to eat healthy are just part of “prevention is better than cure” -- a philosophy I live by. In response to a certain email: I can only recommend and explain exercises that can make you stronger and less vulnerable to injuries. But exercise can't magically cure back pain that has been affecting you for years. This deserves medical attention.

And since there have been requests to go over more back exercises, I'll oblige.

Hip Flexor Stretch
To do a hip flexor stretch bring one foot forward with a bent knee at a 90 degree angle, while the other leg is on the floor behind you with your foot pointed upwards. The hip flexor stretch will help to open up the muscles of your back on the side of the spine, near your hips. While you are doing this move you can also squeeze your glutes to deepen the stretch each time you exhale. You will feel a deep stretch in your back leg as well as the front of the thigh and the hamstrings.

Lumbar Side Stretch
For this stretch bring your legs wide with your knees bent whilst you are sitting or standing. Simply bring one hand down to your foot and your other hand behind your head. Maintain a steady breath and hold this stretch for at least 30 seconds.

If you have any questions regarding fitness issues or this column, please email lifestyleds@yahoo.com.


Mark these words… with a ma

By Ehsanur Raza Ronny

Quote of the week: Everything is art, especially if you squint hard enough.
Markers aren't for the faint-hearted. To an inexperienced grownup, it's just a tool for writing on paper or making happy faces/rude diagrams on window panes. To an inexperienced child, it's a weapon of mass destruction. It's a sword or a lance or a laser-guided missile where the laser is suffering from a severe seizure. It's a dirty bomb where first the child goes off finding an unattended marker, then the ink and finally the mother. Boom!

Children are magnetically drawn to drawers. Maybe that's how these things got the name. Mine learned early on that a drawer contains treasure. You could see the gold bullions gleaming in his ten-month old eyes. By a few more months he figured out how to pull it open. And find the stash of markers. So many colours.

He was his own first victim. Felt tips when chewed on love to release all the ink. Takes about 20 seconds to empty one pen completely. The ink may not be good for them but so far, the child is fine and you will be too if the mother doesn't find out.

Once he was done with face paint, he moved on to walls. So many walls, such big canvasses. It brings out the Picasso in even the least artistically inclined child.

The guy who invented the first permanent marker in 1952 couldn't imagine the carnage he was unleashing.

So what do you do? Stunt the creativity? Tell them to learn Photoshop? Or give in like most people do? I did. The walls are a mess. A family friend said she waited for her child to become old enough to understand severe threats before they repainted their walls. People tell me years from now I will look back and feel proud. I will be even more proud when he forks out the cash from his wallet to repaint my walls.


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